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Customer Question:

I have one current issue: I have a 1999 Chevy Tahoe with about 95,000 miles. The driver and front passenger leather seats are heated and are showing wear (cracks in “like leather” sides of these original seats). Also the heating elements must have worked their way closer to the underside of the seat. When turned on, the seats make a couple VERY HOT portions on the seat and the rest remains cooler. Originally the seats heated evenly and were a pleasure in the winter. Now they are just painful!

I think I need new seat covers and maybe new heating elements and foam too. I would plan to pull the seats out of the Tahoe and “rebuild them” with new foam, heating elemets and put on all new covers. I DO NOT want slip on seat covers to go over the existing as I have had poor luck with these. They appear cheap, they are always in need of adjustment and they don’t solve the heating issue.

Suggestions on new seat covers and if my plan is correct?

1A Auto Replies:

Hi Tom,
I think you are going in the right direction with the seat covers.  I have fixed a lot of GM heated seats because of inconsistencies and damage to the heating elements. Replacing the entire cover is the best solution to this problem considering your "leather" isn't in the greatest of shape.

If you have never pulled one of these seats apart before here are a couple steps for guidance.

1) Remove the seats from the Tahoe all together, because they will be way easier to work on outside of the truck.  Be sure to correctly position the seat before pulling it out so that you can access the nuts underneath.

2) Once out, remove the bottom seat cushion from the frame. It probably has 4 nuts and some clips. The seat switches are held together with clips if I recall correctly, be gentle prying on them because the clips break easily.  I think GM engineers designed them to never come apart in 1 piece after the initial install.  If they do come apart, consider yourself very lucky.

3) Now remove the seat cover from the lower cushion. It either has hog rings (metal loops) or plastic clips.  If it's hog ringed, they can be cut or twisted off, and new ones can be bought at any local upholstery shop for cheap money.  Hog ring pliers will also be helpful when the new covers go back on, but they can be found locally as well.  Plastic clips are far easier to work with, so hopefully your truck has those instead.  Pop the clips / rings off and the seat cover is ready for the trash.

4) If your seat back is also showing its age, start pulling that apart too.  It likely has a bunch of clips at the bottom that latch onto a metal brace. Turn the entire seat cover inside out as you pull it off, and be sure to put it back on the same way.  I think the head rest clips are able to be removed once the seat cover is about half way off.  Once you have battled your way through the seat cover removal, the worst is behind you.

5) The seat covers go back on in the reverse process. Be sure to flip them inside out and start at the deepest point.

Bonus Paragraph: You could always look for a nice set of seats in a junkyard from a low-mileage truck?  It may be a little more expensive but a lot less time consuming.  Then again, you wouldn't have all the fun of taking seats apart either.

Good Luck Tom!


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